TLS Members e-Newsletter

Members eNewsletter
At least four times a year, TLS members are rewarded at their inboxes with a copy of the Labyrinth Society e-newsletter. It serves as a means of direct communication with the membership and provides an historical record of the Society.

2016 GATHERING: Survey Summary

by Lars Howlett, TLS Web Chair / World Labyrinth Day Coordinator

The 2016 Houston Gathering included 110 participants from 5 different countries—US, Canada, UK, Kenya, and Australia. Mark Healy from Australia gets the prize for farthest distance traveled – 8915.12 miles (not counting all the traveling he did in the US). Mary Ann Burris from Kenya chalked up only 8733.63 miles!

We had 30 participants from Texas! This Gathering was a real boost to their labyrinth community. Many of the Texan participants were new members, and we had new members from other places as well.

I created a summary of the 2016 Houston Annual Gathering evaluation. We had 64 responses out of 105 invitations for about a 2/3 response rate! I take this as a great sign that not only did people value their experience but are also interested and engaged to share their appreciation for the past and suggestions for the future.
What are my biggest takeaways after reading all the surveys? People most enjoyed and commented on the feature presentations by Debi/Marty Kermeen and Reginald Adams, and they were drawn to the Gathering because of its theme of diversity/community building. Most people felt welcomed and cared for, especially the newcomers. Everyone wished they could have had more time getting to know one another and socializing. 

Attendees either felt the Gathering length was just right or would expand it to include a second full day. The biggest challenges were choosing among so many offerings, only having a short time between events, having too-cold air conditioning at times, and wishing the opening was more interactive as is traditional. 


1. Most attendees had been to 2-5 gatherings (36%) but first-timers were second highest ranking at a close 32%. 
2. Attendees seemed to find out about the Gathering from many different sources and our website was most commonly mentioned.
3. The top three reasons for attending were the Gathering theme, networking/business opportunities, and the featured (keynote) speakers.

4. Most people attended for 3-4 days, 10% only for a single day or event.
5. 72% said duration was about right, 21% slightly too short, and 7% somewhat too short. Nobody thought it was too long.
6. Almost 80% thought registration was extremely or very easy.
7. Favorite experiences included the workshops and tours held pre- and post-gathering.

Photo by Lars Howlett

8. Asking participants for one specific highlight had a wide variety of responses.
9. The highest satisfaction level included the Church/TLS/Volunteer Staff, a sense of welcoming, the venue, and the food. The lowest satisfaction level included cost, transportation, options, and the pace/schedule.

10. The most common responses of what could be done differently were: plan more time between workshops/events, offer workshops twice instead of once, lower the air conditioning so it isn't as chilly, and shorten driving time.
11. People mostly enjoyed the pre/post workshops.

12. The majority enjoyed the opening/closing ceremonies, but they wanted more interactivity or ritual for opening (instead of passive performance) and less time standing in the sun for the closing.

Photo by Lars Howlett

13. Universal appreciation and inspiration came from the keynote speakers!

14. There was a wide variety of answers for the question on the most inspiring, enlightening and heartfelt workshop.
15. Many people missed the panel and those who did attend either found it inspiring or thought the technical issues were distracting. 

Photo by Lars Howlett

16. Concerning group sessions, the New to TLS Mixer was most appreciated; the World Café was generally liked but some thought it was too late in the day.

17. Survey participants thought the Houston tour had too much driving and almost everyone enjoyed the Galveston Tour.  

Photo by Lars Howlett

18. Many KUDOS went to TLS/Steering Committee/Local Team. Some prefer a venue where everyone stays on-site together or which is located in a rural area. 
19. 66% (40) would recommend the Gathering to others, 30% (18) passive, and 5% (3) no.
20. More workshops, more social time, more music, and more small groups would be welcomed for future Gatherings, along with the sponsorship of regional gatherings.
21. At future gatherings, survey participants prefer fewer choices and workshops that do not compete at the same time.
22. Many varied responses were expressed as to one idea participants had as a major take-away.

23. The vast majority would recommend the Gathering to a friend and the number one preferred geographical destination for attending in the future is the Pacific Coast!

24. Participants suggested a variety of possible venues for future Gatherings.
25. Three people signed up to volunteer.

Looks like we are headed for the Pacific Northwest for 2017.

2017 Gathering